Islamabad - The European Union and WWF-Pakistan joined hands to promote action on climate change by celebrating Climate Diplomacy Day here on Sunday.

The event brought together people from diverse backgrounds to become part of the exchanges taking place worldwide in crucial reflection on how to explore the opportunities arising through irreversible transition to low carbon economies while ensuring equitable access to sustainable development.

The event kicked off with the participants cycling from Pakistan National Council of the Arts on a designated route as a symbolic gesture to raise awareness to curtail growth of greenhouse emissions by promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation.

The event then moved on to a screening of documentary, ‘Thank you for the rain’, which is the story of a Kenyan farmer, Kisilu, who started to use his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the damages of climate change, five years ago.

When a violent storm throws him and a Norwegian filmmaker together, we see him transform from a father to a community leader and to an activist on the global stage.

To highlight environmental awareness and to contribute towards a greener tomorrow, WWF and the EU also launched a ‘Climate Diplomacy Art Competition’ this year for students to let out their creative side and encourage love for art.

The theme for the competition was ‘Challenges of climate change: Pakistan’s youth on the front line’. Students between 14 to 16 years of age were eligible for participating in this competition.

A total of 15 government schools and colleges from Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore participated in the competition, with each institute able to submit up to ten art pieces making it a total of 150 entries.

The best art pieces were displayed on the event. The winner, Amna Ayyaz from Islamabad College for Girls, F-6/2, received a cash prize of Rs25,000 and certification of becoming the ‘EU Youth Climate Change Ambassador’.

Ambassador of the European Union, Jean-François Cautain said: “The EU remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its full implementation while progressing steadily with the finalisation of the measures to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030”.

By strengthening and widening its partnerships, the EU has progressively become flag holder of the fight against climate change, he said.

The objective of this sustained engagement is for the EU to raise global climate ambition together with its partners, in particular those the most exposed to the negative side effects of climate change, he added.

Climate change requires collective action and the EU remains committed to continue working hand in hand with Pakistan, listed amongst the most vulnerable countries despite the low level of its global carbon emissions, he said.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, stressed the importance of promoting a common worldwide understanding of the need for action to mitigate climate change.

Dr Ishrat Hussain, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity, was the chief guest of the event.

Each year, the European Union around the world celebrates Climate Diplomacy Day with events taking place to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond.

Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge.

These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris in December 2015.